Household Bookkeeping Strategies

Archived Q&A and Reviews

Worth it to enter everything in to Quickbooks?

May 2007

I was wondering how other families manage their finances. I have been using quickbooks pro and recording all money that comes in and all money that goes out. At any given time I can print out a balance sheet and see where it's all going. THEN my computer died and I had nothing backed up. SO I am at square one. Wondering if all the time I spent entering in every credit card reciept was worth it, reconciling all bank and credit card statements. Is there another way to approach this that takes less tim and still keeps a family organized? WOuld love too hear how others deal with this sort of thing. thanks!

I use Quicken and just download everything; all my data from all my bank accounts are kept on their individual websites and every month when I get my statement, I just go get it from the website, and it reconciles itself in the process. Bummer about your computer, though. In the future: BACK UP!! ;) Jill
I use Quicken, which can go online to our credit card, banking, Schwab, and even my 401K accounts, and enter the transactions and balances automatically. That means no manual input. And Quicken can ''learn'' which category to assign the credit card transactions based on the vendor. For example, a Safeway transaction is assigned to ''Groceries''. Quicken also helped with my wife's home business, and we got our taxes done 2 months early this year. I used to use Excel, but I was overwhelmed with the input. Good luck. Anon
I use Quicken 2004 the home equivalent to QuickBooks Pro I believe. Setting up the account profiles takes a significant time investment but the day to day is no longer so much work. All my transactions using our checking account, visas, or brokerage accounts, can be downloaded electronically. This has really ended the need to go through each receipt and inputting raw data. The only reason I look at receipts now is to categorize particular purchases and to deal with cash payments. I try to pay by visa or debit for EVERYTHING so that I can track my use. This past tax prep was so easy. Since I had been keeping up with all my transactions and had tax categories, I just had to print out a tax summary from quicken to use for my tax questionnaire. I would think linking to turbo tax (we use a CPA right now) would be another benefit. anon
I no longer track anything. It was too much to handle. This is what I've done:
Set up all my savings/401ks/college fund deposits (about 25% of gross salaries) through work; Pay 1.5 times my mortgage payment monthly (about 15% of net); Get most statements electronically; Pay nearly all my bills electronically. View my credit cards on line frequently to track purchases; View my check online and then set up payments corresponding to when I get paid; Select billing due dates on any bills I can (to more easily track payments).
What's left after everything comes out of our checks and after our fixed expenses (about 45% net) are paid (including those pesky property tax payments and other yearly insurance expenses) is money we spend as we like. If we know an expense is coming up (travel or house work), we plan how much it'll cost and when we can do it. Then we adjust our spending accordingly. We don't have much of a slush fund...if we have a surprise expense, we just tighten our belts in the months going forward. We also check our credit reports yearly, casually track our net worth, and casually track our investments (not much glamour in index funds). HTH anon